You’ve read the recap. Now, let’s go inside the numbers from Hampton’s win Saturday afternoon over Winthrop.
- The most important part of the day didn’t even really center around the action on the court. Winthrop competed Saturday for the Back the Pack initiative, which helps to provide food for needy kids via the Rock Hill (S.C.) Education Foundation and local businesses. This is an annual event for Winthrop basketball, and the crowds are always huge. If you feel so called, there is a link to get involved on their site.
- You may recall after Gardner-Webb’s victory over Winthrop nine days prior that Runnin’ Bulldog forward Eric Jamison said, “I just felt like I had the advantage in the paint this game, and I was just going with it, going with the flow.” Winthrop has surrendered 154 points in the paint over its last four games, in which it has lost three and won the other by a single point. This is a concern for Winthrop’s iteration of the pack line, which prides itself on stopping straight line drives and dribble penetration. Hampton went 12-for-12 on layups Saturday, per Winthrop’s statistics.
- Hampton scored 1.145 points per possession on 76 trips, scoring greater than 50 percent of the time. Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey commented that Hampton was slowing the ball down and extending possessions, but the Pirates still averaged 19 seconds per trek down the floor. Winthrop scored 1.052 points per possession, but scored 48.1 percent of the time on 77 trips.
- Going into Thursday’s games, Hampton had taken the fewest threes in the league — by far — with greater than 60 triples separating the Pirates from the next club. Hampton continued that trend Saturday, hoisting just 11 treys and hitting three.
- Hampton changed to a zone for a decent part of Saturday’s contest, which breaks coach Buck Joyner’s routine and seemed to actually benefit his club.
“We’re typically not a zone team. We don’t play zone. We did work on that to try to help keep them out of the lane. We knew that stopping (Winthrop center DJ) Burns was gonna be tough. We just wanted to make sure we surrounded him as much as we could. I think that the addition of the zone may have caught them off-guard. It helped stop some of the penetration and we were able to use our length — we’re not very huge, but we’re long — we were able to use our length to stop some of those threes.
“We actually put that in saying, ‘If we need it…’ Our main three or four guys have gotta play 20, 30, 40 minutes. We may need it just to give you a rest, kind of, and give them a different look. We ended up using it pretty much the whole game. It worked, and we just said to keep doing it, so it helped us.” – Joyner
- As Winthrop continued its comeback and its crowd started to get more and more into the game, the situation became a lot more emotionally charged for Hampton in hostile territory. Senior forward Greg Heckstall took the opportunity to calm down some of the younger players and keep them focused. I asked Joyner about Heckstall’s impact.
“(There’s) nothing like a senior. We don’t have many seniors. The one thing that we said we had been lacking was a coach on the court — (those) exact words. One of the things we’ve talked about for the last week is (that) we don’t have a coach on the court. When times go down, we need somebody to pull us together. He’s a senior, and he did it tonight.”
- Joyner also pointed out that his club was 6-1 at home in Big South play and 1-6 on the road coming into Saturday’s game. The Pirates’ lone road victory in the conference was a two-point decision at Asheville earlier in the season. Hampton has the remainder of a suspended game at Gardner-Webb to close its road schedule on Monday, then hosts Radford and USC Upstate to close the regular season as it tries to secure a first-round bye in the conference tournament.
- One of the things that former Gardner-Webb and current Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann told me years ago that really stayed with me is — paraphrasing — that the hardest job a coach has is to get a group of 18-to-22-year-old kids to play 40 minutes of basketball. Winthrop guard Hunter Hale addressed that topic Saturday when asked about whether his team had a lack of energy early in the game.
“Yeah, for sure. We talked about that going into the next half, too, and I feel like we really came out and brought a lot of energy out there and made a run. It was a little too late. We’ve gotta come out there right away and have a lot of energy. Like I said, credit to Hampton. They really brought a lot of energy.”
- There was a really cool moment before the game, when star Hampton guard Jermaine Marrow came over and shook Kelsey’s hand and gave him a hug. The Rock Hill Herald‘s Alex Zietlow asked Kelsey about it after the game.
“I just respect him. I think there’s mutual respect. He’s a nasty competitor. He really is, man. He’s a terrific player. I just have so much respect for him. We’ve talked through the years.
“He’s not afraid every once in a while to wink at me or give me something when something’s happening in the game. That’s gamesmanship. I don’t have a problem with that. He’s just the ultimate competitor, and he’s a terrific, terrific basketball player. I have a lot of respect for him.”
Kelsey also told a story about Marrow chastising one of his teammates for a play (“being a leader,” Kelsey called it) by using some colorful language, and doing so within earshot of Kelsey’s kids. He mentioned that Marrow came over after the game and “profusely” apologized to him and his kids.
- Finally, the Hustle Stats:
- Points in the paint: Hampton 36, Winthrop 30
- Points off turnovers: Winthrop 14, Hampton 13
- Second-chance points: Winthrop 13, Hampton 12
- Winthrop had 11 offensive rebounds, compared to Hampton’s eight
- Fast-break points: Hampton 11, Winthrop 7
- Bench points: Winthrop 24, Hampton 4
- This seems like a significant number, but consider this: Winthrop outscored Hampton 56-7 off the pine in a 116-95 victory at Hampton earlier this season
HAMPTON 87, WINTHROP 81
HAMPTON (13-15, 8-7 BIG SOUTH): Stanley 13-17 5-7 31, Dean 1-3 2-4 4, Marrow 7-19 8-8 23, Warren 7-8 3-3 18, Heckstall 2-7 2-4 7, Sow 0-2 0-0 0, Griffin 0-0 0-0 0, Shelton 0-0 0-0 0, Oliver-Hampton 1-1 2-2 4. Totals 31-57 22-28 87.
WINTHROP (19-10, 13-3): Ferguson 2-6 4-7 9, Burns 9-16 1-1 19, Anumba 2-5 1-2 6, Hale 6-14 3-3 18, Vaudrin 1-5 2-2 5, Jones 1-5 2-2 5, Falden 3-5 2-2 9, King 0-1 0-0 0, Zunic 2-4 1-2 6, Claxton 2-4 0-2 4. Totals 28-66 16=23 91.
Halftime — Hampton 43-29. 3-Point Goals—Winthrop 9-29 (Ferguson 1-3, Anumba 1-2, Hale 2-9, Vaudrin 1-5, Jones 1-4, Falden 1-3, King 0-1, Zunic 0-1), Hampton 3-11 (Marrow 1-5, Warren 1-2, Heckstall 1-4). Fouled Out — Stanley (HU), Warren (HU). Rebounds —Hampton 38 (Warren 11), Winthrop 33 (Vaudrin 10). Assists —Winthrop 15 (Hale 4), Hampton 14 (Marrow 6). Total Fouls —Winthrop 23, Hampton 19. Technical — NA. A —3493.
CURRENT BIG SOUTH STANDINGS
- Radford and Winthrop have clinched first-round byes, and can finish no lower than second place in the regular season.
- Three of the teams in the grouping of Hampton, Gardner-Webb, Longwood, UNC Asheville, and Charleston Southern will receive first-round byes. The remainder will play first-round tournament games on Tuesday, March 3.
- Campbell will play a first-round matchup. It only has one remaining game, and the only team with whom it could win a tiebreaker is Asheville, who would finish, at worst, one game ahead of the Camels.